Catawba College exceeds goal for funding softball field lights

Catawba College exceeds goal for funding softball field lights
(Source: Cindy Martin)

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Catawba College announced Jan. 9 that it has exceeded one of its first-priority goals in its current MIND BODY SOUL Campaign for Growth. The fund-raising campaign, kicked off in mid-October, raised more than $221,000 in two months for lights for the Whitley Softball Field. Work on the project is expected to be completed by mid-April.

Without lights, the team cannot play night games, restricting the program. Student athletes miss class in order to play afternoon games, and working parents are not able to attend afternoon games to support their children. Catawba also misses opportunities to rent the field for community evening events.

Barbara Marshall, Class of ’72, of Raleigh, co-chair of the BODY Committee, said she is impressed and pleased with the response to the campaign. “No more missed afternoon classes,” she said. “The women on the team will now be able to practice under the lights as well as play their games in the evening. Plus, parents and friends can attend the games.

“I want to thank all of those donors who made this a reality so quickly,” Marshall said. “We had a challenge and a goal which was met in short order. Donations in varying amounts – small, medium and large from a lot of folks who truly want the best for the team and the college -- made this happen.”

The Catawba Office of Development reported that the money came from 72 donors, with 62 percent of the gifts being under $1,000. The Office of Development called the successful campaign an example of women supporting women, since the top four donors were women.

Darlene Ball, Class of ’62, of Salisbury, co-chair of the overall campaign, said that it is significant that the goal was reached with many donors making contributions. She has called the three-year effort “an engagement campaign.”

“We want to reach and engage all alumni and friends of the college,” Ball said. “Every gift counts. Everyone will find something in this campaign that will make a key difference in academics, athletics or spiritual experiences on campus. They can contribute, as they are able, and we will show them results.” Donors designate the specific project that they want to support.

Marshall said that the lights also will enhance the team’s practice experience. “Hopefully, this will result in more away game victories,” she said. In recent years, the team has made three appearances in the NCAA Regional Tournament and has won two South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championships. The team maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.6.

Mandy Morgan, head softball coach, called the announcement “a huge step for our program. We are so excited to have so much support. This is a wonderful opportunity for our team, athletic department and Catawba. The lights will allow us to practice more as a team after classes conclude and have games later so more parents, students, faculty and community members can attend.”

Team member Taylor Martin said that the team is very thankful to all those who worked on the project and gave their time and gifts. “This allows us to better our team in many ways,” she said.

In the overall campaign, the College plans to raise $38.2 million to upgrade facilities and begin new programs, ensuring that Catawba is fully prepared to grow and retain students by providing 21st century opportunities. Of the total amount, $6.9 million will go to the athletics program (BODY); $28 million to academics (MIND); and $3.3 million to spiritual (SOUL).

Dan Bross, Class of ’71, of New York, NY, is co-chair of the overall campaign, along with Ball. Randy Crumpler, Class of ’75, is co-chair of the BODY Committee, along with Marshall. Deborah Messinger, Class of ’74, and Greg Alcorn, Class of ’79, both of Salisbury, are co-chairs of the MIND Committee; and Dick Seiwell of West Chester, Penn., Class of ’67, and Sara Cook of Salisbury, Class of ’65, are co-chairs of the SOUL Committee.

Fred Stanback of Salisbury and June Michael, Class of ’70, are honorary co-chairmen of the campaign.

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